UH Moment

UH Moment: Playing Richard III

“It’s like training as an athlete, and playing Richard is a pretty much a 90-minute marathon sprint.”

It’s been 32 years since the University of Houston-produced Houston Shakespeare Festival put on “Richard III.” Bringing the hunchbacked villain to life for the 2017 season is a full production in and of itself.

“I’ve never had a character that needed something like that,” said Leah Smith, costume designer for the Houston Shakespeare Festival. “It has been interesting to see how it comes together.”

The hunchback is made out of layers of foam and tailored to actor Jack Young’s back, who has been training for months to wear the costume.

“I have been wearing a weight vest and ankle weights because Richard is supposed to be hobbled and not have full use of his legs.”

The preparation also included changing his workout routine and visits to the chiropractor for adjustments.

“It’s like training as an athlete, and playing Richard is a pretty much a 90-minute marathon sprint,” Young said.

“Richard III” returns to Hermann Park’s Miller Outdoor Theatre July 29, Aug. 2, 4 and 6. “Richard III” is playing in repertory with “Twelfth Night,” which runs July 28, 30; Aug. 1, 3, 5. All shows start at 8:15 p.m. and are free to the public.

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